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Dropbox Seals Its Fate as a Feature

This week Dropbox sealed its fate by selling its soul (in he form of its user base) to Microsoft in an integration deal that sounds like a great thing. Seamless access from Office to share and store in Dropbox. Virginia Backaitis at CMSWire calls this a “clear, but probably not as a strategic(as for MSFT), win for Dropbox.”

Sounds like a great idea … for Microsoft.

If I can get Dropbox users used to saving from inside my tool, when I pull the plug on the integration it will make it easier for them to transition to my product (OneDrive) that does exactly the same thing (even if it is not as good).

This may sound conspiratorial (and it is because I love that stuff) but this move positions DropBox from the viewpoint of the users exactly where Steve Jobs famously saw it. As a feature rather than a sustainable business. I don’t necessarily agree with that position because I think he was looking at it from a device context but that is where Dropbox has put themselves.

Dropbox now will have to evaluate every future feature decision in the context of Office if they want to stay there. I can guarantee Redmond will not adjust to them.  Others in the sync and share market though will not have this constraint making it easier for them to differentiate.

The new Dallas First Rule of the Web is “NEVER surrender the eyes and clicks of YOUR users to a competitor.”

Good for users in the short term but it is not always a good business decision to tie your growth to the benevolence of Microsoft integration. A lesson Dropbox may learn the hard way.

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